Customs and Excise Duty Services for AEO certification

AEO is of major interest to transportation & logistics companies importing or exporting goods into and outside the EU. A company must be established in the EU and have a good compliance review record to qualify. Companies must consider whether AEO is appropriate to their model and if it is, should consider when they want to be authorised.

If a company is AEO-certified the benefits are:

  • Improved clearance times;
  • Improved supply chain security resulting in reductions in stock loss;
  • Addition to an AEO certified participants database, which could be the beginning of a pan-EU, best practice, preferred suppliers list;
  • Companies currently authorised for customs regimes and simplifications would already broadly meet the required profile, leading to a simpler authorisation process;
  • Access to a service co-ordinator. A designated contact point will be assigned by the customs authority, ensuring all customs queries are addressed quickly;
  • Credibility in business partnerships – companies may prefer to trade with AEO authorised partners, as is the case in the US with C-TPAT participants;
  • Recognition of the status by other jurisdictions;
  • Certification demonstrates that enhanced security is in place at key points in the supply chain process; and Reduced information required to clear goods at the frontier.

Relevant PwC services and solutions:

We can offer help and advice according to your existing import and export profile. The following might be an indicative menu:

Stage 1 High level eligibility analysis
Stage 2 Detailed audit and report
Stage 3 Implementation and application
Stage 4 Three yearly compliance review



Stage 1 – High level eligibility analysis 

  • An initial review to identify a company’s eligibility and the benefits and obstacles faced in obtaining certification, including
    • high level customs profile and supply chain review to identify any gaps between legislative requirements, EU guideline requirements and a company’s procedures.

Stage 2 – Detailed audit and report

  • Identify stakeholders; and prepare outline project plan/timeframe for implementation;
  • PwC have devised an audit plan that allows for key operational areas to be reviewed and documented. Any weaknesses identified can be addressed prior to formal submission to Customs.
  • PwC’s international trade experts will also be able to benchmark a company’s procedures against best practice.

Stage 3 – Implementation and application
Assistance in implementing the processes required for AEO certification as well as providing specific tax and legal advice on complex issues such as:

  • In which member state to apply (in theory, where accounts are held)
  • Advice on legal entity status. For example, when can branches of a company apply for a single authorisation?
  • Availability to companies not established in the EU (e.g. US and Swiss companies).

Given that the introduction of this concept requires a review of not just the applicant’s security arrangements but also that of their transport providers’ and their suppliers’, there are significant negotiations and potentially, system and contractual changes to be considered. PwC can map these changes, manage the implementation process and help make changes. Finally, PwC can assist in completing and submitting AEO applications and follow up on their progress.

Stage 4 - Three yearly AEO certification review. 
Part of the requirement for maintaining AEO certification is a review every three years. Having knowledge of the implemented processes, and through liaison with the customs authorities, PwC can help companies undertake this task.